Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: PNC Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: Fox SUN
Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country
Both Tampa Bay’s and Andrei Vasilevskiy’s win streaks ended on Thursday’s night, when the Lightning were defeated 3-4 by the Dallas Stars in Texas. Tonight the Bolts will have a chance to start a new one in the game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
It’s a sixth meeting between the two teams this regular season. The Lightning lost the first two games without scoring any goals against Carolina, but managed to turn the things around and won the next three games late in February, outscoring the opponent 10-3.
Despite numbers on the scoreboard, the season series between those teams is pretty close. The Hurricanes have a slight edge in shot attempts at 5v5 (178-167 for Carolina) and expected goal share (50.73 xGF% for Carolina), but the score is even between two teams at 5v5 (5-5 after five games). The Lightning’s special units were better this regular season: they converted two power play opportunities, while allowing just one goal on the penalty kill against Carolina.
Since their last game on February 25 both teams posted almost the same record: the Canes recorded 10 wins in 13 games and the Bolts won 11 out of 15 games. At this moment, the Lightning are three points ahead of the Canes in the standings, but Carolina has one game in hand.
The Hurricanes are still missing three of their top players: Teuvo Teravainen is dealing with concussion symptoms. According to the Canes coaching staff, they still don’t have clear timetable of his return. Vincent Trocheck started skating after sustaining an upper-body injury, but isn’t expected to play tonight. Petr Mrazek, who has been out since January 30, has also appeared in practice last week, but there’s also no timetable for his return. Both Carolina goaltender looking very solid in Mrazek’s absence, Alex Nedeljkovic has been given more time recently and posted a .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 games so far this season.
No updates also on the Lightning defensemen Erik Cernak and Ryan McDonagh – both players missed the last game and remains in the category day-to-day by the time this preview is written. In their absence more responsibility were put on Mikhail Sergachev and Victor Hedman, who played over 25 minutes in the last game. Cal Foote had also seen an increase of his ice time, playing 23:52 against Dallas – his career-high TOI.
Yesterday the Lightning recalled forward Gemel Smith and goaltender Christopher Gibson from the Syracuse Crunch, while Taylor Raddysh and goaltender Spencer Martin were reassigned to the Crunch. Raddysh didn’t get a chance to make his NHL debut and will have to wait for another recall, Spencer Martin was sent down to get some playing experience in the AHL.
Tonight’s game is the last road game for the Lighting, next week they’re coming back to Amalie Arena for a four-game homestand, including two back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli
Alex Killorn - Yanni Gourde - Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow - Tyler Johnson - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Andreas Borgman - Cal Foote
Carolina Hurricanes Lines
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Brock McGinn - Jordan Martinook - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Morgan Geekie - Steven Lorentz
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Jake Bean